Pompey boss: Fortified defence can boost promotion bid
Kenny Jackett is convinced Pompey's reinforced defensive fortitude can propel them into a promotion challenge.
The Blues boss has identified the necessity for bolstering his team's back line to secureÂ an improved placing.
Last season they shipped 56 goals during an eighth-placeÂ finish '“Â almost double the tally conceded by League One title-winners Wigan.
Goalkeeper Craig MacGillivray and Lee Brown has been recruited toÂ add more steel to Pompey's rearguard, while Tom Naylor will anchor the midfield.
For last weekend's season-opener, the Blues produced a brilliant defensive display in a 1-0 win over Luton.
And Jackett is anticipatingÂ more steely performancesÂ this term.
He said:Â '˜We were just outside the play-offs for the majority of the season last year andÂ finishing eighthÂ was just about right for us.
'˜We are looking to try to go one better if we can and defence is one area we can improve on.
'˜Obviously, on Saturday using possession constructively was another aspect which must be lookedÂ at,Â but similarly you do need the qualities we showed in defence.
'˜We have the ability toÂ defend like we did, putting your body on the line and never givingÂ up.
'˜We certainly hope we are in a situation whichÂ can do better than 20 league defeats in a season, that's one of the targets we feel we can improve on from last year.
'˜No disrespect to Alex Bass, but we've probably some better competition with Craig (MacGillivray) coming in to compete with LukeÂ McGee. I am confident in both goalkeepers.
'˜I also think Lee Brown has brought in some experience which we've needed, with more thanÂ 350 games for a left-back.
'˜But also we have two 21-year-old centre-halves who are a year older and more experienced, which helps.
'˜Then if you throw in the likes of Nathan Thompson and Christian Burgess, hopefully that can produce a resolute defence for the season.'
Thompson is struggling for Saturday's trip to Blackpool with a knee injury.
Burgess replaced him at right-back for the final 19 minutes against the Hatters, also playing his part in victory.
Jackett added: '˜It was between Matt Clarke and Jack Whatmough for man of the match.
'˜They are young '“ and I am a Burgess fan as well, he's a good player.
'˜With the three of them, if we can keep them fit and available we are quite well covered for that position.'